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"Who is your Daddy and what does he do...?

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The Truth About Paternity Tests

By Attorney Jeffrey B. Engle, Family Law Division Leader, Harrisburg, PA

Ironically, Arnold Schwarzenegger played the "Kindergarten Cop" and was questioning his class to ascertain the identity of one of the children as that of the son of a notorious bad guy.  He went through a game of questioning the kids, one at a time, "who is your daddy and what does he do?"  Now, it seems, Arnold himself has become the bad guy.

This situation raises an interesting question about how do we prove who the father is of a child, if not born in wedlock?  Here's the truth about how paternity is proven and what testing is conducted.

Paternity of a child born out of wedlock may be determined in any one of three ways:

(1) when the child's parents have subsequently married each other;

(2) by clear and convincing evidence that during the child's lifetime, the father openly holds the child out to be his and either receives the child into his home or provides support for the child; or

(3) where there is clear and convincing evidence of paternity, which may include a prior court determination.

Types of tests:

Blood: Either a human leukocyte antigen (HLA) test or a deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) test  Typically, the weight given to DNA testing is greater than that given to HLA testing in a proceeding to establish paternity.

Saliva: The buccal swab method is an alternative to the blood test.  It provides the tester with deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) samples to conduct paternity testing.

If you have questions about paternity or establishing paternity of a child, please contact us to discuss your case in detail.  You may contact us toll free at the number above or by emailing us from our website,

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